In the Argentine we do not suffer
from lack of denominations in Christian work. Here are some that occur
readily: Adventist, Baptist, Brethren, Church of England, Church of
Scotland, Disciples, Lutheran, Menonite, Methodist, Nazarene, Pentecostal,
One cannot wonder that, to some, it
is all very bewildering. To the cynic it is as meat to the hungry. And yet
the spirit of cooperation and brotherhood grows in strength and expands in
The above text may serve to direct
our ‘thoughts along helpful channels. John, the Apostle, had an inspired
vision of Heaven, the Holy Jerusalem. In his words are to be found
breathings of that atmosphere in which Union and Concord is possible and
probable under God.
Is it straining the context too
much, or is it too late in the day, or is it too trite to suggest that men
may reach the Holy Jerusalem (1) out of different churches—perhaps
sometimes out of no Church at all; (2) after different spiritual
(1) Out of different churches! The
mark of’ exclamation is almost necessary, so startlingly unthinkable is
anything else. If you speak the English language you may go along Calle
Beigrano, or Charcas, or Corrientes, or Estados Unidos, or 25 de Mayo to
worship God in Buenos Aires. What then? At the end of the day will the
street or the church matter much? Can you imagine that at the pearly gates
and golden you will be asked your denomination? "There shall be one flock
(not "fold" as wrongly translated) and one shepherd." Scotland’s greatest
theologian at the end of last century said that a sufficient creed for all
true believers was — "I believe in God through Christ". You might be asked
if you believe that. And you have certainly sung the sentiment—
"Just as I am without one plea But that Thy blood was shed for me."
If we are to meet above, it were
well that we began practising it below. What is right in Heaven can hardly
be wrong on Earth. Many roads lead to Buenos Aires and the traveller is
free to chose as he will. But these roads all converge on the ctiy and
meet there. And the Celestial City has twelve gates. From whatever
direction he approaches, the pilgrim has a gate of welcome—ever open.
(2) After different spiritual
experiences. In what a multitude of ways have different men, even in the
same Church, come to believe in God through Christ. Just here lies the
danger that we should stereotype the experience, and ultimately come to
think that those who have not our experience, or have not travelled our
way, cannot be truly saved. St. Paul discovered Christ through blood and
fire on the road to Damascus. Timothy entered the Kingdom quietly through
a godly mother’s and grandmother’s influence. One entered by the sterner
north gate, the other by the balmier south. Some come through the East
gate when they are young; some through the West gate when they are old.
God alone is the judge.
"Home by different ways. Yet all
Homeward bound through prayer and praise;
Young with old and great with small;
Home by different ways."
(3). And the gates shall not be
shut. Yet we on earth seem so often to be shutting gates instead of
keeping them open. "I’m afraid you cannot take Communion here as you are
not a Communicant of this Church." "I’m sorry", said the stranger, "I
thought this was the Lord’s table."
Do you remember a scene in David
Copperfield? Old Mr. Peggotty and his niece Em’ly lived together in the
Boat House near the shore. Every evening at dusk, the old man opened the
door, and then placed a lighted candle in the window to show little Em’ly
the way home. But one evening she did not return. She had run away, and
the old man’s heart was nigh broken. But love still triumphed and he
resolved to travel the world if haply he might find her. At the same time
he decided to leave someone in the old boathouse to welcome her if she
should come back. Here are his last instructions: "My wishes is, sir, as
how the old house shall look, day and night, as it has always looked. If
ever she should come a-wandering back, I wouldn’t have the old place seem
to cast her off, you understand, but rather seem to tempt her to draw
nigher to’t, and to peep in, may be, like a ghost out of the wind and
rain, through the winder at the old seat by the fire. Every night, as
reg’lar as the night comes, the candle must be stood in its old pane of
glass, that if ever she should creep home and see it, it may seem to say
—‘Come back, my child, come back. ".
Heaven’s welcome will hardly be less
to them that believe. For One is waiting there who trod a rougher road
than we, whose loving Heart knows, whose words were not "him that cometh.
from such and such a church", but "him that cometh unto ME I will in no
wise cast out."